Hair's Sengbloh Joins Broadway's Fela!; Additional Casting Announced

News   Hair's Sengbloh Joins Broadway's Fela!; Additional Casting Announced
Saycon Sengbloh, who was recently seen in the Tony-winning revival of Hair, will play Sandra in the Broadway transfer of the new musical Fela! The theatrical portrait of a singular African music artist will begin performances at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Oct. 19.
Saycon Sengbloh
Saycon Sengbloh

As previously announced, the cast will be led by Sahr Ngaujah, who also starred in the title role Off-Broadway, with Lillias White, a Tony winner for The Life, as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the mother of the legendary African composer and performer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

The cast, according to the show's official website, will also feature Kevin Mambo, Corey Baker, Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren De Veaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Catherine Foster, Aimee Graham Wodobode, Rasaan-Elijah “Talu” Green, Abena Koomson, Ismael Kouyaté, Gelan Lambert, Farai Malianga, Shakira Marshall, Afi McClendon, Adesola Osakalumi, Jeffrey Page, Daniel Soto, Iris Wilson and J.L. Williams.

Tony-winning Spring Awakening choreographer Bill T. Jones directs and choreographs the production that will feature Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community — under the direction of Aaron Johnson — performing Kuti's music live onstage.

The musical played an acclaimed engagement at the now-closed 37 Arts in 2008. 37 Arts was also the birthplace of the Tony-winning musical In the Heights.

Fela! features a book by Jones and Jim Lewis and utilizes Kuti's own music. Lewis, a Tony nominee for Chronicle of a Death Foretold, also penned additional lyrics. The musical was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. In Fela!, press notes state, "audiences are welcomed into the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Using his pioneering music (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies), [the musical] explores Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician."

The design team comprises scenic and costume designer Marina Draghici, lighting designer Rob Wierzel, sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and projection designer Peter Nigrini. Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean will provide musical arrangements.

Jon Goldman is the production stage manager, and Linda Marvel is the stage manager.

Visit FelaonBroadway.

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